Aaaagh, it's driving me crazy! My yamaha is massively sharp on two strings at 7,9 and 12 and flat on 1 string. I know how to fix the flat (using a diamond nail file etc) but not the sharps, can it be done with a thicker saddle? Effectively shortening the string length by a mm and then filing it to correct the other strings

  • The thickness/mass/gauge of a string will affect its intonation. Be sure you have the correct strings, or maybe change to a different gauge first.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 22:13
  • @Tim because of varying stiffness?
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 0:34
  • @phoog - depends what 'stiffness' means. All strings on my guitars are about the same tension, but beause they're different gauges, their intonation is sorted by them being different speaking lengths.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 7:23
  • It would be very unusual to have three strings playing out of tune and three that are okay. Occasionally strings are badly made, so that might be one possibility. Otherwise I'd suggest visiting a luthier. . .
    – PeterJ
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 12:28

2 Answers 2


Solved! After much trial and fail with the saddle I found a brilliant luthier at my local shop who gave me (and yes I do mean gave me) a set of d'addario Pro arte strings, the D which with d'addario classic strings was a semi tone sharp at 12th fret is now perfect as are all the strings. Who would believe that strings could make SO much difference! Note to other Yamaha C40 owners:They don't love D'Addario classic strings! And yes I went back to the shop and thanked and paid the brilliant Luthier Richard.

  • Hi buddy, I fitted EJ49 strings to remedy my intonation problem, I'd suggest a visit to the excellent music shop too but Plymouth, England may be a bit far!
    – Jimbo
    Commented Dec 22, 2019 at 11:36

You can adjust the intonation either sharper or flatter by filing on the back or front of the saddle.

To adjust flatter, file the front side of the crown of the saddle to move the point of contact back and lengthen the sounding portion of the string.

To adjust sharper, file the back side of the crown of the saddle to move the point of contact forward and shorten the sounding portion of the string.

(Be sure to mark the saddle when you remove it so you can reinstall it with the same orientation.)

  • Yeah that's the way I know but I think I've run out of adjustment with the saddle that's fitted. Some of the strings are way out on the 12th fret.
    – Jimbo
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 0:44
  • Sadly, that's about the limit of my expertise. It may be that more extreme measures are called for, like repositioning the bridge or making a custom saddle piece that extends farther in the needed direction. But I've never done anything like that so I can't really advise further. I've seen luthier videos on YT where these things are done. Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 5:29
  • Yeah that's the direction I seem to be heading, I'm a cabinet maker so custom anything is right up my boulevard, but I'd rather there was a simple remedy such as lighter strings or devine intervention, thanks buddy. 😁
    – Jimbo
    Commented Dec 11, 2019 at 19:07

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